A Saudi Magazine’s Enthusiastic Report on Arabs in the IDF

A recent article in the Saudi Arabian monthly Al Majalla—which appeared in both the Arabic- and English-language editions—observes the rising number of Druze, Christian, and Muslim Israelis who choose to enlist in their country’s military. Drawing on interviews with several such men and women, the author, Suzan Quitaz, writes:

“Why did I decide to enlist?” asks Sergeant Sami Heib, a twenty-year-old Bedouin who has been with the IDF over two years, “Because this is my homeland, I am part of this country, and I want to contribute.” He continued, saying that “many relatives of mine already serve in the IDF and my parents support my decision and are very proud of me.” He told Al Majalla that the IDF made him feel at home.

The coronavirus crisis did play a significant role in helping the IDF to gain more recruits and to be perceived differently by the Arab public in Israel. [A senior IDF officer from the manpower directorate] explains why: “During the pandemic, IDF soldiers were deployed to deliver food and medicine to elderly and sick people. They took part in the coronavirus awareness campaigns and later helped with setting up vaccine centers and so on. . . . You can say the fear factor was broken, as people were able to see with their own eyes how tirelessly the IDF was working to look after all residents of Israel.”

After quoting several Arab enlistees enthusiastic about their service—including the first Muslim woman to attain the rank of major in the IDF—the article cites the disapproval of the Arab Knesset member Hanin Zoabi, who claims that Arabs only join because they “are poor and have no work.” Quitaz is not convinced:

Al Majalla asked Hassan Kaabia to comment on MK Zoabi’s assertion. Kaabia is an Israeli Arab and a former lieutenant colonel who served in the IDF for over two decades and currently works as the spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is what he had to say: “The IDF is the only institution where there is no discrimination and there is total equality and inclusion. It is not true that they are joining because of economic factors. The majority of Israeli Arabs who join the army are doing it because of one reason and that is they want to be part of the state.”

Mr. Kaabia’s son, Captain Asaf, decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and joined the IDF a few years ago. MK Zoabi’s argument about only “poor men with no jobs” gets even thinner when you consider that Mohammed Zoabi, her very close relative, joined the IDF.

Read more at Al Majalla

More about: Druze, IDF, Israeli Arabs, Saudi Arabia

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University